Wednesday, February 29, 2012
ABRAHAM & ISAAC, Following In The Footsteps of Faith, 2/29/2012
WILT THOU GO WITH THIS MAN, Lesson 33,
Abraham the old patriarch is dying. Before he does, he wants to find a bride for his son Isaac. He sends a nameless servant to his relatives home to find this bride. The servant does what he was sent to do. He finds a bride for Isaac and succeeds in his mission returning home with a bride for his master’s son, Isaac. For Rebekah, her encounter with Abraham’s servant came down to one important question, “Wilt thou go with this man?”, (v. 58). She said, “I will go” and this response changed her life forever!
From a spiritual viewpoint, everything boils down to the very same question. You see, in this story, Abraham is a picture of God the Father. The Servant represents the Holy Spirit. Rebekah represents the church, or those saved by grace and Isaac is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Father has sent His Holy Spirit into this world to call out a bride for Jesus Christ, (John 16:7-11). Like Abraham’s servant, the Holy Spirit does not promote Himself, but He talks about Jesus and calls lost people to come to Him for salvation, (John 16:13-14). Those who have Jesus revealed to their hearts by the Holy Spirit and hear Him say “Wilt thou go with this man?”, are brought face to face with the greatest question man will ever face! How you answer that question determines where you spend your eternity!
Today, I want to look at this passage from Rebekah’s perspective. I want to point out a few thought that should make saying “Yes!” to the question “Wilt thou go with this man?” a little easier.
SOME MATTERS ARE VERY CLEAR TO REBEKAH
Isaac Is A Man Of Mystery - The name of this man is not even revealed to Rebekah! This servant had over 500 miles to teach Rebekah about Isaac and his bag of riches. To a lost person, Jesus Christ can be mysterious and frightening. Lost people have all kinds of questions and fears The best way to learn about Jesus is to come to Him by faith. The Spirit of God will teach us all about Him as we journey toward home! The Holy Spirit is in the teaching business (John 16:13-14). We will never get Him all the way figured out, until we get home!
Isaac Is A Man Of Money - Everything Abraham owns is in the hand of the servant, (v. 35-36). Laban is very interested in this! Everything the Heavenly Father owns has been given to His son, (Rom. 8:17), and He shares all He has with His Bride (The Church). The scope of this thought is expressed in Deut. 10:14; 1 Cor. 10:26 - Look up and look around, everything you see belongs to Him and to us! ( 1 Cor. 2:9)! He is well able to care for His bride!
Isaac Is A Man Of Matrimony - ( V. 4, 34-49) - Isaac is a man looking for a bride! It was every woman’s desire, in that day, to marry and have children. For Rebekah this must have been thrilling! Out of all the women this rich, eligible man could have chosen, he chose her! Don’t take to call of God to be saved lightly! To be called to come to Him for salvation is an honor beyond compare! When you think of the lost man’s condition, (Eph. 2:1-3; 12) and what the Lord wants to do for him, (Eph. 2:13-22), it is an honor to be called and chosen to come to him for salvation!
SOME MATTERS ARE VERY CONCEALED TO REBEKAH
Her Road Is Concealed - She does not know what lies between where she is and where he is! There are many unknowns along the way, but the servant has all the necessary resources to make the journey successful! . Some of the questions she might have had! None of us knows what will happen between here and Heaven! But, we can rest in the sure knowledge that He knows and plans the road ahead, (John 10:4; Ps. 37:25), and that He will go with us all the way home,( Matt. 28:20; Heb. 13:5)! Not a single one who begins the journey with Jesus will fail to make it home unless they fail to do so! The road may be rough and it may be fraught with peril, but we are ALL going through!
Her Reception Is Concealed - When he sees her what will he think of her? Will she be accepted? Will she be loved? Notice that all her fears were in vain, (v. 67! My lost friend, you need not wonder whether Jesus will have you or not. If you will come to Him, He will never turn you away, (John 6:37)! If you are already saved, you need not fear His rejection at the end of the journey!
Her Reward Is Concealed - What is in this for Rebekah? Is this offer for real? If I could answer her, I would tell her, “Rebekah, you get a new Father, a new Family, a new Faith, a new Fortune, a new Future, a new Fame. Rebekah, you get more than you could ever imagine when you get Isaac!” The world, the flesh and the devil will try to tell the believer that there is no payoff in serving God. But, you remember this: the rewards for coming to Jesus are without number and without limit, (1 Cor. 2:9; Rom. 8:32; Eph. 1:3).
SOME MATTERS ARE VERY CERTAIN TO REBEKAH
She Is Willing To Choose - (v. 58) - Even though she does not know all there is to know about Isaac, she knows that she wants to be with him. She doesn’t have all the information, but she has enough to choose! He sounds just like the man she wants to be married to. Salvation boils down to your wanting Him more than you want anything else in life. Being saved means coming to a place where you are willing to choose Jesus over your sins; Heaven over Hell; God over Satan. Salvation is about you reaching a place where you want to be free more than you want to be bound! Salvation is about you coming to a place of faith in Jesus Christ alone, (Acts 16:31; Eph. 2:8-9). Rebekah looked around and said, “I want him more than anything I have here. I will go!” Salvation comes down to your being willing to make Him your choice, after He has made you His choice, (John 15:16)! Don’t allow anything to stand between you and your soul’s salvation! Nothing you can name in this world or in the world to come is more valuable than your being saved,( Mark 8:36-37; Mark 9:43-48)!
She Is Willing To Change - Rebekah has come to the place where she esteems Isaac as being more valuable than anything else in her life. She is willing to turn her back on everything to go be with Him. She is willing to live in a new place, in a new way, under new management! This is the essence of salvation. It is a total life change, because it is a new life, (John 3:3, 7; 2 Cor. 5:17). Coming to Christ means coming to the place where you are willing to turn your back on the old life forever and embrace a new way of living and walking. Many balk at this point, but a heart of repentance is a necessary component of salvation, (Luke 13:3)!
She Is Willing To Commit - Rebekah has reached the place where she is willing to commit the rest of her life to being Isaac’s wife. She is willing to give her all to him! Salvation is not about mere profession, it is about total commitment! There is no place in the church for so-called “easy-believism”. Salvation is a radical commitment to follow Jesus Christ for the rest of your life, with no reservations! Salvation comes when a lost sinner is convicted of his sins and is drawn to Christ. When that sinner believes the Gospel and repents of sin, he or she is saved! Salvation is a total, radical, permanent commitment!
Conc: Rebekah made her decision to go to Isaac. As a result, she was loved, blessed and lived a happy, joyous life. It all happened because she said, “I will go!” when she heard the question, “Wilt thou go with this man?” What about you my friend? Jesus is calling, isn’t He? In your heart, you are hearing that same question asked today, “Wilt thou go with this man?” Well, will you? If you will come to Jesus, He will save you and change your life forever. You and you alone can decide what you will do with Jesus!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“Lord, I’m Coming Home” By W. J. Kirkpatrick (1892)
I’ve wandered far away from God, Now I’m coming home; The paths of sin too long I’ve trod, Lord, I’m coming home.
Coming home, coming home, Nevermore to roam; Open wide Thine arms of love, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’ve wasted many precious years, Now I’m coming home; I now repent with bitter tears, Lord, I’m coming home.
I’m tired of sin and straying, Lord, Now I’m coming home; I’ll trust Thy love, believe Thy word, Lord, I’m coming home.
My soul is sick, my heart is sore, Now I’m coming home; My strength renew, my hope restore, Lord, I’m coming home.
INVITE A FRIEND TO THE TEAM!
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
ABRAHAM, Following In The Footprints Of Faith , 2/28/2012
STANDING UP FROM BEFORE THE DEAD, Lesson 32
We have been privileged to walk with Abraham through the peaks and valleys of a life well lived. We have seen him leave his homeland to walk with God by faith. We have witnessed his successes and his failures. We have seen him as he experienced the joy of childbirth and watched as he willingly gave that child up to the will of the Lord. Abraham's life has been filled with the best and the worst that life can dish out.
Genesis 22 took this man to the pinnacle of faith and obedience. This chapter takes into the depths of the valley of the shadow of death. Here, as we watch him say goodbye to his wife Sarah, we see a man who has learned to walk by faith as he weathers the storms of life. I would like for us to watch Abraham in these verses as he teaches us how to live the life of faith even when tragedy enters our view. Let’s look now at the thought “Standing Up Before The Dead“.
V. 1-3a IT WAS A TIME OF FAREWELLS
The Sadness Of Separation - We are told that Abraham's wife of some 70 years has died. This kind of separation is part of everyone's life, (Heb. 9:27), but when it comes, we are never quite prepared for the hurt it brings. Thank god, the cruel messenger of death will be done away with forever one day, (Rev. 21:4; 1 Cor. 15:26).
The Sting Of Sorrow - When death entered the home of Abraham, it broke his heart. The Bible says that he came to "mourn" and to "weep". These words mean "to wail" and to "shed tears", respectively. By the way, this is a natural reaction to death! There are times when we hear people tell us not to weep over our dead, but when they are stripped from our presence, it is impossible not to weep for and miss them. F. B. Meyer said this, "Tears relieve the burning brain, as a shower does the electric clouds. Tears discharge the insupportable agony of the hearer, as an overflow lessens the pressure of the flood against the dam. Tears are the material out of which heaven weaves its brightest rainbows. Tears are transmuted into the jewels of better life, as the wounds in the oyster turn to pearls." When death has intruded into the land of the living, do not fear their cleansing needful ministry in your life.
The Strength Of Steadfastness - The Bible tells us that "Abraham stood up from before his dead". This means that when the mourning period was over, Abraham moved on with his life. You see, grief is a normal part of living, but there is a time when grief must reach an end. Sorrow over death is natural, but sorrow that does not end is unnatural. A woman told me yesterday that she has grieved for her parents for over 15 years. Folks that is not godly sorrow! We are told in the Bible, "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.", (1 Thes. 4:13). May we learn to rejoice over our loved ones who, like Sarah, have entered the realms of light, (2 Cor. 5:8)! One day, we will join them there!
V. 3b-16 IT WAS A TIME OF FAITHFULNESS
Abraham has been given all the land by the promise of God. However, He does not own one square inch of the land at this point. He goes to speak to the men of the city to acquire a place to bury the dead.
V. 4a Abraham Declares His Identity - He tells the men of the city that he is still a pilgrim among them. He has lived here some 62 years at this point, but he has never settled down. He says that he is a "newcomer" and is just one "passing through". Even after all this time, he has never set down his roots in this world. What a lesson to the children of God! As long as our roots do not go too deeply in this world, we will not become too entangled in its affairs. May we never forget our identity! We are pilgrims and strangers, (1 Pet. 2:11), in this world. Let us so live and not settle down, but keep traveling, looking for that city that will be our eternal home!
V. 4b-16 Abraham Demonstrates His Integrity - In order to secure a place to bury his wife, Abraham strikes a deal with one of the sons of Heth, a man by the name of Ephron. Abraham mentions a certain piece of property and Ephron offers to give it to him, but Abraham refuses, because he does not want to be indebted to any man, (v. 13). This is a good lesson for every child of God! We need to beware that we owe no man anything but love, (Rom. 13:8). When Ephron sees that he has the advantage over Abraham, he charges him far more than fair price, but instead of standing up for himself, Abraham humbly accepts the offer. Having to pay for land that God has promised to give him might have caused many men to stumble, but Abraham was able to see beyond the present into a future where it was all his anyway. Even in trials, Abraham was a man of integrity! How you conduct yourself when the pressure is on says more about you than how you act when things are good! One of the best example in the Bible of integrity under pressure is Job, (Job 1:20-22)!
V. 17-20 IT WAS A TIME OF FAITH
The fact that Abraham buried his wife in the cave in Hebron, shows the depths of his faith in the Lord God. Of course, Abraham's faith is well known and documented, even in the New Testament, (Heb. 11:13-16). In Abraham's life, we can see faith exhibited in three areas.
We See His Faith In The Promises Of God - He was able to buy the cave with confidence seeing that he already owned the land in trust. It had been given to him by the precious promise of God, (Gen. 13:15-17). He knew that one day, he and his descendants would be buried in this very cave. But, he was able, by faith, to see far beyond this. He was able to see a day when he would stand with Sarah, in the presence of the Lord in Heaven, (Heb. 11:9-10)! This same faith dwelled in the heart of Job, (Job 19:25-27). It should dwell in our hearts as well, (John 14:1-3). When we are able to look beyond the present to the things we have been given in promise, by faith, it secures the heart, frees the mind and strengths the hands to work, (Heb. 11:1)! When we know we are going home some day, it makes the trials of this journey bearable!
We See His Faith In The Plan Of God - Abraham knew that even as he buried Sarah here, there would come a day when his descendants would inherit this land and would dwell there. Because of this great knowledge, Abraham was able to endure his grief, his pain and his losses. He knew that God's plan is always best, (Rom. 8:28). If we could ever grasp that truth it would change our lives! It would spell the end of our second guessing, our worrying and our "whys?" and "What if's". God has a perfect plan and it is not meant to hurt you, but it is meant to produce His image in your life, (Rom. 8:29). It is meant to glorify His name and to further His kingdom in this world. The best thing we can ever do is to submit humbly and wholly to what the Lord is doing in and around us!
We See His Faith In The Power Of God - Even as he stared death in the face, Abraham was able to walk in victory because he knew that he was serving a God Who controlled all the affairs of life and of death! He knew that even though his pain was great and his loss was terrible, in the end, he would come out a winner because God resides on the throne! Would to God we could remember that always! We are not going to be in this world with all its pain and heartache forever! The day is coming when we will leave this world for a new home in glory. When that day comes, we will enjoy the victory! The bottom line is this: I have read the conclusion of the book! We have already won all there is to win, we must just wait until the victory we already hold by faith is beheld by the eyes!
Conc: There are times when we all look at an impossible situation and wonder how much more we can take. Let me tell you now that God's grace is sufficient for you in everything you will face in this life, (2 Cor. 12:9). He will give you grace to stand up from your dead and to go on for His glory, until the battle is over. I do not know what you might be facing today, but I do know that faith is where your victory lies, (1 John 5:4)! What will it take to get you to stand up from your dead? Whatever it is, the Lord has it. Come get it!
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“His Grace Reaches Me” by W. Gleason (1964)
Deeper than the ocean and wider than the sea is the grace of the Savior for sinners like me
Sent from the Father and it thrills my soul Just to feel and to know That His blood makes me whole.
His grace reaches me Yes, His grace reaches me And ‘twill last thru eternity
Now I'm under His control and I'm happy in my soul Just to know that His grace reaches me
Higher than the mountain and brighter than the sun it was offered at Calv'ry for ev'ry one
Greatest of treasures and it's mine today Tho' my sins were as scarlet He has washed them away.
Share Today’s Lesson with A Friend!
Monday, February 27, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/27/2012
v. 5 WORSHIP’S SEPARATION, Lesson 31b
When this small band of pilgrims arrived at the place God revealed to Abraham, a separation took place. He said, “... unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” Those two young men were not a part of the worship experience. They would have hindered Abraham from doing what the Lord had called him to do. Therefore, they had to be left behind. The only two elements allowed in the place of worship was Abraham and the treasure of his heart.
There is a lesson here for the person who would worship God today. There are many things in life that would hinder our worship. Like those two young men, things would intrude themselves into our worship that have no business being there. We must say to those things, “Abide ye here, while I go yonder and worship.”
We are all aware of the things that compete for our attention when we seek to worship the Lord. Meals have been prepared in services set aside for worship. Problems have been thought through, relationships pondered, and deals struck in services set aside for worship. All the things that would hinder us: the problems of the flesh, the mind, the world, etc., must be banished when we go to seek the Lord in worship. Anything that distracts the mind from Him is a hindrance to genuine, biblical worship.
Heb. 10:21-22 says, “And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith...” We have a “High Priest”, that is the privilege of God’s grace. Since we have been given that privilege, we have a responsibility. We are to “draw near with a true heart.” This is a call to approach the Lord with a heart that is focused wholly on Him. Anything that would distract the mind must be cast out and left behind so that we, like Abraham, can go from “here” to “yonder”.
For Abraham, the place of worship was not “here” in the valley with the young men, it was “yonder” on the mountain with the Lord. If I am going to worship, the I too must move from “here” to “yonder”. The only way I can do that is separate my mind from any that would hinder it from being totally given over to Him. (Rom. 12:2; 2 Cor. 10:5)
What occupies your mind when you come to worship? What has had your attention in this service?
v. 5 WORSHIP’S SELF-DENIAL
When Abraham told to young men that he was going up to “worship”, he knew that it meant the sacrifice of his son. This was nothing less than absolute self-denial on Abraham’s part. He yielded himself to the will of God with no regard for his own will or feelings. He sacrificed his opinions, his desires, his will, his preferences, and his very future to the glory of God.
Abraham’s worship was not about him; it was about the Lord. Abraham did not seek to worship in a way that would allow him to be exalted; he worshiped in a way that brought all glory to God. In other words, Abraham lost himself in the person of God. Abraham forgot about self and did only thing which glorified the Lord.
The believer would worship must learn the truth of Philippians 3:3, which says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” If we would worship the Lord, then we must not come to Him full of ourselves. We must come to Him full of the very thing that delights His heart. Nothing delights the heart of God more than His Son Jesus.
On more than one occasion, God said, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” God is infinitely delighted with His Son. If I will enter His presence with a mind and heart full of Christ; if I will speak of the glories of His Darling Son; if I make my worship focused on Jesus, my worship will rise before the Lord like sweet incense.
I am simply reminding us that worship is never about us. We can’t worship as long as we are focused on self. If we would worship the Lord, we must cease to exalt self and we must focus on exalting Him and Him alone! Real worship happens when we forget about self and get lost in His glory for His glory!
v. 16-18 WORSHIP’S SERVICE
Abraham climbed that mountain with Isaac. Abraham answered Isaac’s fears. Abraham took his son, bond him and placed him on the altar. Abraham raised the knife and fully intended to sacrifice his son to the Lord. He held nothing back! He yielded every ounce of self to the perfect will of God. God intervened and provided a ram for Abraham to sacrifice in the place of Isaac.
In the end, Abraham’s worship served to glorify God alone. Abraham’s faith and act of selfless worship delighted the heart of God. It also brought a statement of appreciation from the Lord.
When we devote ourselves to selfless worship we bring glory to Him. Psa. 50:23 quotes God as saying, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” True biblical worship gives God the place of absolute preeminence in our lives. He alone is glorified in genuine worship. That is how worship serves the Lord!
v. 16-18 WORSHIP’S SATISFACTION
God will be no man’s debtor! After Abraham’s demonstration of absolute faith in God, God gave Isaac back to him. Abraham ascended that mountain with a heavy heart. He was going to honor God, but honoring God would cost him his son. He obeyed God, and in return, God rewarded Abraham. He might have climbed the mountain scared and defeated, but he came down rejoicing and thankful. He might have climbed that mountain questioning the ways of God, but he came back down understanding God better than he ever had. He might have climbed that mountain ready to give up his Isaac on the altar of sacrifice, but he came back down more thankful than ever for Isaac. When Abraham placed Isaac on the altar, God gave him back, and Isaac was more precious than he had ever been before!
One of the greatest blessings of genuine, biblical worship is that it brings the manifold blessings of God back to the believer. God will honor those who honor Him through worship. When we are willing to sacrifice all that we have, all that we are, and all that we care about on the altar of His glory, He will respond by blessing us and using us in greater ways than we could ever imagine.
The greatest key to having God’s power and presence manifested in our lives is worship. If we could just learn to take all that we are and yield it to all that He is, we would enjoy greater spiritual blessings than we have ever dreamed up. If we could learn to offer up real worship to Almighty God, He would honor us with His blessings.
As we respond in worship to all that Jesus is, as He is revealed in the Word of God, God responds by doing for us what he did for Abraham. He gives us the Son in greater measure. That is, he gives us a greater appreciate for the Person of Christ and the gifts of Christ.
When we worship Christ in light of His death on the cross, the cross becomes more precious. As we worship Him in His resurrection, His resurrection become more precious. As we worship Him for grace, love, salvation ,eternal life, heaven, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, the church, and everything else He has given to us in Christ, those things become infinitely more precious to us.
When we give God pure worship for Who He is and what He has done for us, He responds by giving those things back to us in greater degree. It is not that we have more of those things, it is that those things become more real and precious to us. That is one of the great benefits of true worship.
Conc: Abraham’s worship honored the Lord. He placed all that he was and all that he had on the altar of submission and humble obedience to the God Who loved him and saved him. In response, God blessed Abraham in ways he could never have imagined. Have you examined your worship in light of what we have learned from Abraham? Are you worshiping Him as he is revealed to you in the Word of God, the source of worship? Are you absolutely submissive to His will? Is you worship sacrificial? Are you practicing self-denial and separation? Does your worship serve the Lord by glorifying Him? Does your worship provide satisfaction as he becomes more precious to you? Or, is there room for improvement in your worship? If the Lord has spoken to you about your worship, come to Him today and let Him work in your heart to bring you to a place of pleasing, biblical worship.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“None of Self and All of Thee” By T. Monod (1874).
1. Oh, the bitter pain and sorrow That a time could ever be, When I proudly said to Jesus,
"All of self and none of Thee." All of self and none of Thee, All of self and none of Thee,
When I proudly said to Jesus, All of self and none of Thee."
2. Yet He found me; I beheld Him, Bleeding on th' accursed tree; And my wistful heart said faintly, "Some of self and some of Thee." Some of self and some of Thee, Some of self and some of Thee, And my wistful heart said faintly, "Some of self and some of Thee."
3. Day by day His tender mercy, Healing, helping, full and free, Brought me lower, while I whispered, "Less of self and more of Thee." Less of self and more of Thee, Less of self and more of Thee, Brought me lower while I whispered, "Less of self and more of Thee."
4. Higher than the highest heavens, Deeper than the deepest sea, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, "None of self and all of Thee." None of self and all of Thee, None of self and all of Thee, Lord, Thy love at last has conquered, "None of self and all of Thee."
Invite A Friend To Join The Team!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
ABRAHAM, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/26/2012
THE SETTING OF BIBLICAL WORSHIP, Lesson 31a
There is a hermeneutical principle known as The Principle Of First Mention. This principle teaches that the first mention of a word, or a doctrine, in the Bible, determines its meaning throughout the rest of Scripture. For instance, Egypt is first mentioned in Gen. 12:10. In that verse, Abram leaves Canaan during a time of famine and goes to Egypt. While he is there, he suffers spiritual loss and damages his testimony. Thus, Egypt is presented in a negative light and, as a general rule, that is the way Egypt is perceived throughout the Bible.
The passage before us today gives us the first mention of the word “worship”. People had worshiped before the events of this passage take place. Gen. 4 shows Cain and Abel engaged in sacrifice and worship. Gen. 4:26 says, “... then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.” Gen. 5:22 tells us that “Enoch walked with God...” Gen. 6:9 tells us that Noah also “walked with God.”
People had been worshiping the Lord since the very beginning, but this is the first time the word “worship” is used. This passage that describes the faith of Abraham teaches us some very powerful truths about worship. The word translated “worship” means to “bow down; to prostrate oneself before a superior; to humble oneself before God.” Abraham uses this word in the midst of the most difficult trial he ever faced. He was in the deepest valley of his life, yet he saw the experience as a time of worship.
I think Abraham’s experience has something to say to us about our own worship. In fact, the truths revealed here teach us about The Setting For Biblical Worship. These verses teach us about the character, the conditions and the challenges of biblical worship. Let’s examine these truths together as we think about “The Setting For Biblical Worship“.
v. 1-2 WORSHIP’S SOURCE
Abraham’s worship in these verses was based on a clear word from the Lord. Verse 1 says, “God...said unto him.” Verse 2 says, “And He said...” Abraham found himself engaged in the worship of Almighty God because God told him exactly what He wanted. God told Abraham what to do, “Take now thy son...and offer him for a burnt offering”. God told him where to go, “get thee into the land of Moriah...upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Abraham’s worship was based on a clear word from God.
True worship is always guided by the Word of God. True worship is always a response to revelation. Thus, true worship is always a matter of faith, (Rom. 10:17). God has revealed Himself to us in His Word. We respond to that revelation by humbling ourselves to Him and bowing down before Him in reverence and adoration.
Many will go to their churches and engage in responsive readings, dead liturgies and empty formalism, and call it worship. Others will dance around, lift their arms and shout. Some speak in tongues and faint dead away and call it worship. Still others will go to church, sit quietly in their pew, sing the songs, bow for prayer, listen to the preacher and call it worship. Does any of these methods of assembly and doing church really result in worship? If we are going to worship the Lord, we must do it His way in the manner that he has prescribed. Following the traditions and customs of man is simply not worship. Genuine biblical worship is all that I am responding to all that God is, as He is revealed in the Bible.
In other words, God says He loves me. God says He sent His Son to die for me. God says He will never leave me. God says that He will supply all my needs. God says He is my Father. The list could go on. When I understand Who God is and what He has done for me, I worship Him when I respond to His revelation with humility, gratitude and reverence. So, yes, the person in the emotional church can worship. The person in the formal church can worship,. The person in the church like ours can worship. The key is the attitude of the heart.
Genuine worship takes place when my spirit responds to God’s revelation of Himself in His word, and I bow myself before Him in reverence, love and adoration. So, like Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth,”( John 4:24).
v. 3 WORSHIP’S SUBMISSION
As soon as Abraham hears the command of God, there is no hesitation. He responds in faith and submits himself to the will of the Lord. Notice how Abraham’s submissive faith manifested itself.
He “...rose up early in the morning.”
He “saddled” his donkey.
He “took two of his young men with him...”
He took “Isaac his son.”
He “clave (spilt) the wood for the burnt offering”
He “rose up”.
He “went his way unto the place of which God had told him.”
Abraham’s worship manifested itself in humble submission to the will of God. Surely, Abraham could not understand the Lord’s command. Surely, his heart was heavy as he went about his tasks. Surely, he was troubled and confused. Still, he did what the Lord told him to do. Abraham heard the word of the Lord and he submitted himself to that word. Abraham humbly obeyed God, and that is the essence of worship!
Not only does worship find its root in what the Word of God says; it is also rooted in obedience to what the Word of God says. There, anyone who does not obey the Word of God cannot be a true worshiper. It is one thing to know what God says, but it is another thing altogether to obey God, even when His commands and demands make no sense. What the Lord called Abraham to do was unprecedented. No one had ever been asked to do that before. Yet, Abraham obeyed God because Abraham trusted God to do the right thing. He trusted the Lord to know best. He humbled himself by faith and left the consequences with God.
That kind of faith is an essential component of true biblical worship. Thus, even the smallest act of obedience to the Word of God is a form of worship! Praying, reading the Bible, tithing, witnessing, faithfulness to the house of God, all the things we ought to be doing anyway, are all acts of worship, when they are done out of a heart of love and humble submission to God.
v. 2, 5 WORSHIP’S SACRIFICE
Abraham’s worship wasn’t cheap. Abraham’s worship would cost him his precious son. Notice how God approaches Abraham in verse 2. “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest...” Isaac was the light of Abraham’s life. Isaac was the most precious person in the world to Abraham. Isaac was his dearest possession. Isaac represented all of Abraham’s hopes for the future. To Abraham, Isaac was life itself.
God commands Abraham to take that which is most precious to him and sacrifice him to God. Abraham’s worship was costly.
In verse 5, he told his servants, “Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.” When Abraham spoke of “worship”, he knew that true worship involved him making the greatest sacrifice possible. Abraham’s heart was wrapped up in his son, yet he willing gave God the treasure of his heart because of his love for the Lord.
Real worship is always costly! David knew this, for he said, “...neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing,” (2 Sam. 24:24). Mary of Bethany knew this, (John 12:1-8). She sacrificed her pride, her glory and her treasure for the opportunity to worship the Lord Jesus. The wise men knew this, (Matt. 2:1-12). These rich, wise, powerful men humbled themselves before a child and worshiped Him. They sacrificed their pride, their glory and their treasure to honor the Lord. Through the ages many millions have given the all, even their lives, as sacrifices of worship for His glory.
We need to keep in mind that worship is a sacrifice, (Heb. 13:15). It always costs something to worship the Lord! It costs time in spiritual preparation, for no one just walks in and goes right to worship. It costs time in Bible study, for the truth must be encountered before God can be worshiped. It can cost the loss of prestige and acceptance with friends, family, society and even the church, but God’s worship is worth more than the praises of me. It costs treasure, because often God will ask us to worship Him through giving to others.
Real worship is a sacrifice, and a sacrifice making. This is true because through true worship God is honored and the saint who worships is blessed.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
“How Beautiful” by Twila Paris (1993).
How Beautiful the hands that served
The Wine and the Bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
How Beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How Beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How Beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the Earth
How Beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ
SHARE TODAY’S LESSON WITH A FRIEND!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Abraham and Isaac, FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAITH, 2/25/2012
Gen. 22:1-14 THE TRIAL OF FAITH, Lesson 30
The Siamese twins joined at the waist. Both could not live, so the parents had to choose which child lived and which child died. What a terrible predicament to be in. That, however, is the position that God placed Abraham in this passage. Abraham had a choice to make, and it involved the live of his son. Abraham’s faith was on trial before the Lord. 1 Pet. 1:7, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
Through the centuries, Abraham has stood as a monument to true faith in God. He trusted God in every area of his life and he was vindicated by God every time. He was tried, but he came forth from the trial shining in the glory of the Lord. In these verses, we can learn much about the trial of faith. We can learn how to handle the trials of life and about the One who makes the victory possible for us. Notice with me three aspects of the trial of faith.
v. 1-2a A LOVING FATHER (Evidenced by:)
Isaac’s Appearing – He was:
The Son Of Promise – (Gen. 17:19);
The Son of Prophecy – (Gen. 17:19);
The Son of Abraham’s Old Age – (Gen. 17:17).
These three facts caused Isaac to hold a high place in his father’s life.
Abraham’s Actions – (Gen. 21:8-14).
Abraham held Isaac higher in his esteem than he did Ishmael.
God’s Acknowledgment – God knew Abraham better than anyone else and he stated the fact that Abraham loved Isaac! Love made the task hard!
v. 2b-14 A LIVING FAITH (Evidenced By)
v. 2b A Requirement – This was a hard request which God placed upon Abraham. True faith is always tested (1 Pet. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Tim. 3:12). Faith that is never tested is not a faith at all!
v. 3-10 A Response – Without question, Abraham set about doing that which God demanded. True faith always responds to God’s call! Abraham’s faith revealed the fact that he loved God more than he loved Isaac! (John 14:15). We see this in the particulars of the journey! (v. 8-10 ) These verses reveal the true faith of Abraham! How could Abraham do it all? Because in his mind Isaac died when God spoke. He had already put Isaac to death before he ever left home! This is the secret to a walk of total faith. That is, a mind absolutely yielded to the Lord and ready at once to surrender all to Him!
v. 11-14 A Reward – True faith in God is always rewarded by God. When we respond to Him in absolute trust and faith, He gets the glory and He blesses. God honors faith, because true faith honors God! He doesn’t always pay off on Friday, but He always pays off!
God may require that you and I walk through some pretty hard places, but it is faith that will deliver us and get us through all the valleys. Faith is the key ingredient that makes all the difference between worry and winning, struggling and succeeding, tragedy and triumph. Faith is the key to victory in the Christian life ( 1 Cor. 15:57).
v. 12-14 SOME LASTING FEATURES !
This story still speaks to us today because of three outstanding features!
The Picture In Isaac – (A Portrait of Jesus through and through)
1. Only Son –(John 3:16; Matt. 3:17).
2. Son was Obedient To The Father’s Will – Isaac was about 15-to-20, Abraham was about 100. Isaac was more than able to overcome his father, yet he submitted, just like Jesus. (John 4:34; Luke 22:42).
3. Isaac carried the wood for the offering – Jesus carried His own cross – (John 19:17).
4. Isaac prayed to his Father – So did Jesus (Luke 22:42).
5. Isaac willingly surrender to the appointed task (John 10:18). So did Jesus; no one had to force Him to go to the cross (Isa. 53:7).
6. Isaac dead for three days in Abraham’s mind! – Jesus was in the tomb for three days (Matt. 16:21).
7. Isaac Raised from the dead - (Heb. 11:17-19) – Jesus was also raised from the dead (Matt. 28:1-6; 1 Cor. 15:1-23, Rev. 1:18!)
The Peace In Abraham – Abraham is a wonderful portrait of the grace and peace of God. He was certainly heartbroken and miserable, yet somehow, he knew that God would intervene. His attitude perhaps, was even excited as he contemplated what God would do, (Heb 11:17-19). Surely, he would see a new side of the Lord in this work. This is an encouragement for you and me to continue to trust in the Lord. He has “no respect of persons“, and what He did for Abraham, He will do for you!
The Provision Of God – The Ram in the thorns. God abundantly intervened and met the need. Abraham name of the place – Jehovah-Jireh – "The Lord Will See To It." While pain, heartache, grief, sorrow, dread, death, and brokenness went up one side of the mountain, provision, healing, glory, salvation, delight, deliverance, and blessing was coming up the other. He was Jehovah-Jireh then, and He still is today! He is what you need today in every area of your life!
Conc: Your faith, if it is real, will be tested, but rest assured today that Jesus is and has all you need to have the victory in your life. The primary thing that needs to be settled is this: Are you trusting Jesus Christ for your salvation today? Just like Isaac, Jesus climbed Mt. Moriah carrying His cross and your sins. He died there to save your soul and today, you can be saved if you will come to Him by faith. Will you do that today? Christian, are you undergoing a trial today? If so, please come to the Lord, He is still the God who will see to it. Bring your need to Him right now.
TODAY’S HYMN and BLESSING!
My Faith Looks Up To Thee By Ray Palmer (1830)
My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Savior divine! Now hear me while I pray, Take all my guilt away, Oh, let me from this day Be wholly Thine!
May Thy rich grace impart Strength to my fainting heart,
My zeal inspire! As Thou hast died for me, Oh, may my love to Thee Pure, warm, and changeless be, A living fire!
While life’s dark maze I tread, And griefs around me spread, Be Thou my guide; Bid darkness turn to day,
Wipe sorrow’s tears away, Nor let me ever stray From Thee aside.
When ends life’s transient dream, When death’s cold, sullen stream Shall o’er me roll; Blest Savior, then in love, Fear and distrust remove; Oh, bear me safe above, A ransomed soul!
SHARE TODAY’S LESSON WITH A FRIEND!
Get An Email Alert Each Time MJRVIC2000 Posts